President of the Singapore National Olympic Council Teo Chee Hean said Wednesday that the recent violent disruption of the Beijing Olympic torch relay is "unfortunate," as the Olympics torch has always been a symbol of unity and peace.
Local radio station 938 Live quoted Teo, also Singapore's defense minister, as saying that he hopes the politicizing would stop, referring to the disruption of the Olympic torch relay in London and Paris by a small number of "pro-Tibet independence" activists.
"If you look at the history of the Olympics, people came together regardless of what their feelings toward each other were. In Greece, they were fighting wars and they called a stop so that people could come together and celebrate sports," Teo told reporters on the sidelines of a civil service event.
"I think that's what the Olympics is about, what the Olympic flame symbolizes and I do hope that we can set politics aside, enjoy the festival of sports that the Olympics is supposed to be and also, respect the torch for what it symbolizes," he added.
The 29th Olympic Games are scheduled to kick off in Beijing on Aug. 8. The Olympic torch, which is currently on a global relay, will begin its sixth leg in San Francisco on Wednesday.